As winter’s chill sets in, your family may stay inside more, leading to concerns about maintaining adequate vitamin D levels in children. Understanding the importance of vitamin D, recognizing signs of deficiency, and knowing dietary sources are crucial for keeping kids healthy during the colder months.
What Does Vitamin D Do?
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that maintains bone health and well-being in children. It regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus – two minerals that help kids develop strong bones. Beyond bone health, vitamin D is also essential for a robust immune system and can improve mental health.
Since our bodies naturally produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, children can maintain healthy vitamin D levels by playing outside. However, winter poses a challenge with shorter days and more time spent indoors, leading to a potential decrease in vitamin D synthesis.
Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency
Being aware of vitamin D deficiency is vital for addressing it promptly with your pediatrician. Consult with a health provider for proper evaluation and guidance if you notice these symptoms in your child.
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Bone pain or muscle weakness
- Mood changes, like increased irritability
- Frequent infections or illnesses
Since exercising improves bone density, keeping your family active can support healthy bone formation. Outdoor exercise can yield even more physical and mental health benefits for kids, so encourage your kids to bundle up and play outside for a little while, even when it’s cold.
Dietary Sources of Vitamin D
Some foods are naturally high in vitamin D, like fatty fish, shiitake mushrooms, and hard-boiled eggs. Incorporating these into your child’s diet is an effective way to combat deficiency during winter. Here are some more kid-friendly options.
- Fortified breakfast cereal
The easiest way to make sure your child is getting enough vitamin D is to have them take a daily multivitamin. Ask your pediatrician to recommend the best brand and formula.
Make This Winter Brighter
Ensuring your child gets enough vitamin D during the winter is crucial for their overall health and well-being. You can help your child stay active and fit during the colder months by recognizing the signs of deficiency, exercising for bone density, and incorporating vitamin D-rich foods into their diet. If you have concerns about your child’s vitamin D levels or overall nutrition, contact your pediatrician for personalized advice.
Project Play Therapy helps kids and families across Middle Tennessee thrive with services like pediatric physical therapy and psychoeducational evaluations. We offer our therapies in schools, at our clinics, and via telehealth. Reach out to us to learn more.